Temple moments: Devoted centenarian

Ulrich Keller was in his teens during World War I when he and his parents emigrated from Switzerland to America. The family had been baptized a few years earlier and gathered thousands of family names. They decided to move to America to be near to a temple so they could do the work for their forebears. So the Ulrichs purchased tickets and prepared to cross the ocean by ship. The ship they took happened to be a freighter carrying war materials bound for New York. They boarded the ship with their belongings, and the family names, and embarked.

As the freighter crossed the Atlantic, a German submarine located it and fired torpedoes. Hit, the freighter tipped on its side and began sinking. The crew frantically bailed water and the stricken freighter managed to stay afloat and reached New York. Later, a written account of the voyage by the captain stated that if it hadn't been for the Mormon saints aboard and their prayers, saving the freighter would have been impossible.

The Keller family, grateful to have been preserved on their voyage, settled in Logan, Utah, where they established themselves and began doing temple work. Ulrich eventually married Alice Loretta Anderson and the pair spent many hours in the temple.

In their later years, they served a mission to Switzerland where they gathered many additional family names and records of their ancestors. They were devoted in their efforts to do the work for these departed relatives. Although Sister Keller died in 1989, Brother Keller, who is now 100 years old, is still grateful that he has been preserved and continues to attend the temple three times a day, five days a week, said Max W. Craner, president of the Logan Utah Temple.

"He has truly been a beautiful example to his children and all those around him of the importance of temple work," said President Craner. "He still enjoys good health and has a good mind. His eyesight and hearing are failing somewhat but his love for temple work seems to only increase with time."

Another in a series of "Temple Moments."

Illustration by John Clark.

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